Coffs Harbour Report

This weekly report is supplied by Kane Fairchild from MO Tackle

Report 29/11/19

Out wide at the FADs and wave recorder buoys, dollies have been taken in good numbers – just be sure to get there early in the day.

Coming in closer to 50-60m, some nice kingies have been taken, and a few sambos and samsons are getting in on the act as well.

In around 40m, good snapper, tuskies and pearlies have been dominating catches and providing feeds for local reef bashers.

In the island washes, some smaller kingies around 5-6kg have been providing good sport for local lure casters.

In closer again to a out the 20-30m mark, great bonito and stripies are out and about for those after some fun or bait.

The odd longtail has been about as well, and if the rain stays away mackerel should show up a bit early, possibly around Christmas.

On the beaches, jew have been firing nicely and found along most beaches with good gutters.

There’s a small amount of tailor left, but they’re definitely patchy at best.

For the bread and butters fishers, bream and whiting are very consistent on most beaches. Dart and trevally can also be found along most good beaches.

On the rocks, kings are available on the headlands, but you need to out some time in.

The jew fishing from the rocks has been productive, especially for those throwing lures like hardbodies and soft plastics.

The tailor and bream have been patchy, but they are still there and worth having a go for.

In the rivers, whiting are the drawcard for most, with these guys taking baits and lures, and the topwater action has been hotting up for these little guys.

Flathead have been in shallow early before moving deeper later in the day.

There is still some smaller jew in the river, with the biggest coming in at about 80-90cm. Just find them on the sounder and you should be set.

Bream in the river are active, widespread, and responding to lures, including topwaters, so keep this in mind on those hot afternoons.

Jacks have been slow to start, but as it gets hotter and some storms start to build, the jack action should follow.

Bass fishing has been very slow, with a lot still in the salt unable to get back upstream because of the lack of flow. This area really needs some rain. Here’s hoping…

Report 22/11/19

There have been some pretty good snapper on the inshore reefs, some good kingfish at the lighthouse at South Solitary, and dolphinfish on the wave recorder and the FAD.

On the beaches there’s a good run of bream and whiting. A few nice blackfish are being taken around the headlands.

With the way the northerly is blowing it’s going to be a weekend to fish the estuaries. There are whiting and flathead in the lower reaches, and some of the flathead have been quite big.

There are plenty of trevally around, particularly in the Bellingen and Kalang rivers.

There are also a few bass in the upper reaches.

Report 8/11/19

The strong winds have been keeping a lot of offshore anglers grounded, but when they have let up there have been plenty of dollies around the FADs to be caught.

Those braving it and travelling very wide have managed to pick up a few marlin and yellowfin tuna.

Moving in a bit closer, anglers have been picking up nice snapper in the 50-60m mark, with these guys responding to baits fairly regularly.

Back in around the islands kingies are responding to stickbaits at last, providing a lot of fun for local lure chuckers, but when they move deeper, jigs and livies are doing the trick. There are models out there stretching the tape to 120cm, so be prepared!

The close inshore stuff is becoming patchy, but there are still snapper being taken, although in nowhere near the numbers as in previous months.

Spinning for school jew off the headlands has been popular, just be sure to read the weather conditions and not put yourself in unnecessary danger.

In the creeks, with the flatty comp just round the corner there’s plenty of people fishing for them, and some nice catches have been made. Lots of quality flathead are being caught around the river mouths.

Whiting are responding to topwater lures, ad while the actions is not crazy just yet, it’s well worth your time heading down to a local flathead and having a flick.

Higher up, bass have been patchy due to the lack of rain, but are definitely hanging around in the brackish water and happy to chase down lures cast tight to structure.

There is trout fishing available up on the plateau, however you will need to find some of the deeper pools and more shaded creeks.

Report 1/11/19

This week anglers have had some really good success out on the wide grounds. Dolphinfish are just starting to come through, and although they’re not in great numbers there are some better sizes than last week.

      Back from most of the FADs in 70-80m we’ve been finding some solid kingfish around 8-10kg. Mixed in are amberjack and samsonfish around 3-4kg.

      Tuna are starting to make their presence felt, with a few longtails showing up. Mac tuna and bonito are abundant in most areas, and the key to finding them is finding the bait.

      In around 30-40m of water there’s been great fishing for tuskies, pearlies and snapper. Most of the island washes have been producing small snapper and small kingfish, and they’re a reliable way to turn a reel if you’ve had a bad day.

      Coming into the shallows, there have been reports of the odd snapper getting around but most have been in 30-40m.

      On the beaches, jewfish been quite prevalent, with some great captures over the past week. The whiting are thick, and providing great sessions for anglers soaking a bait on the beach. The odd bream and flathead is showing up too. There are small dart getting around in most of the washes. Tailor are slowly coming off the chew.

      The rivers have been fishing quite well, with great numbers of trevally mixed through most of the system. The sizes have ranged from 1kg up to 5kg. Flathead been on most shallow banks first thing in the morning, and have been moving to the deeper pools during the day. There has some really great whiting on the flats over the last week, and small stickbaits and small poppers have been working really well. Two of the most popular surface lures are the ZipBaits Skinny Pop and the Atomic K9, and most anglers take the rear treble off and change it to an assist hook.

      Bream are still quite common around the deeper edges, and you’ll come across a few when surface luring for whiting. Some smaller jewfish are in the rivers, and fishing the deeper edges with 5” soft plastics has been the go. 5” ZMan DieZel MinnowZ and Grass KickerZ are working well.

      Blackfish have started to slowly move into the upper reaches, with great numbers in the brackish areas. As we start to see the water temps rise, there will be great captures of mangrove jacks and estuary cod. You can catch them on hardbodies, surface walkers, soft plastics, or live herring or live mullet.

      Giant herring should start to move in this month, so keep an eye out for them.

Report 25/10/19

Out wide in the deep there have been dollies toward the FAD. They’re not in big numbers or of a very impressive size, but it looks good for the months ahead.

In closer there has been kings in 70-80m, and vertical jigging and live baits seems to be the best way to tangle with a few of these brutes.

Snapper have been touch and go, but if you can get into around that 40m mark there have been some snapper there for the taking. Mixed in with them has been the odd pearly and tusky.

We are starting to see some tuna, mainly longtails and stripies, with some quality bonito in amongst them.

On the beaches, a lot of people are talking about whiting, as this time of year is a great time to be chasing them. Each week there is more and more caught, and small nipper and beachworms are probably the two best baits at the moment. With the whiting is some decent bream.

Jewfish are on cards, generally in hour before or after the tide change. Fresh baits of bonito or mullet should put in with a good chance of a hook up.

There’s lots of dart around for those who are keen. Anglers are using small metals, to catch them, and mixed in is the odd trevally

Rock fishing this week has seen jewfish in good numbers. Early morning and late arvo are thetimes to be trying your luck. Hardbodies and soft plastics are working equally well, you just need to be prepared to put a bit of time in.

Tailor have been scarce and hard to find, but if you can find a few you should be able to catch them.

Bream and whiting have been a bit touch and go off stones, with more bream than whiting, but still worth the effort if nothing else is biting.

Kingies have been biting in short windows off the rocks – if you’re there when theyre feeding you’ll do well.

Groper and drummer are starting to become hard to find, and if chasing them, berley hard. Fresh prawns and cunje are the two best baits for these species.

The river have been clear and the fish a bit hard to entice. Whiting, bream and small jewfish have been available, generally on the bottom of the tide when the water is at its dirtiest.

Trevally have been crazy all through the river. Small GTs, brassies and big-eyes have all been caught in good numbers by those throwing a variety of lures. The biggest GTs have been around 6-7kg!

Bass are still in the mid sections, unable to ascend to the higher pools. There hasn’t been many in the top reaches, but a few can be caught in the remnant pools. This area really needs rain if the bass fishing is going to improve.

Kane Fairchild

Report 18/10/19

Out wide there have been some good marlin getting around; this is the first trickle of sizeable marlin that we’ve seen in the last few months. A big stripey was caught off the canyons 2 days ago, and there’s the odd little one around as well.

Good runs of longtail tuna starting to pop through now as well, and hopefully they’ll provide some good action over the next 4-5 months.

Out off the deeper reefs there are still guys chasing bar cod, with some good captures in the last few days. There were a couple around 15-20kg, which aren’t enormous but still nice fish.

Around most of the islands there are plenty of kingfish ranging from 70cm to 1.3m. Some samsonfish and amberjack are getting caught too.

Out at the 80m mark near the FAD and the wave recorder we’ve been having small runs of dolphinfish. Most are smaller fish, with only the odd big one mixed in. The smaller dollies are willing to bite, but the large ones are more cautious. As the water warms it should become easier to catch them.

Tailor have been very scare around most of the washes, and their numbers will continue to dwindle. Whenever the tuna and/or mackerel come through, the tailor clock out.

Vertical jigging for kings just outside of the shoals has been really popular in 70-80m of water. If you’re fishing, say, 80m of water, drop your jig to 60m, jig it up to around 20m and repeat. The most popular jig at the moment is the Nomad Streaker, and the standout colours are chartreuse white glow colour in low light conditions, and fusilier and mahimahi colours during the day. If you can get away with a lighter weight, such as 100g, that’s preferable because it makes for a more natural flutter. Obviously though if the current is strong you may need to go as high as 300g.

A lot of guys are reporting good catches of pearl perch around the 50m mark. There are fish up to 4kg which is pretty good for this time of year. They’re being taken on Palms Slow Blatt jigs, stripbaits and livies.

In the same areas, snapper are getting harder and harder to find, but the sizes are good; the average is 3-5kg with the odd 7-8kg one getting caught. Early morning soft plastic fishing and bait fishing is the rule of thumb, although an increasing number of anglers are doing well on slow pitch jigs.

On the beaches, jewfish are the star attraction. We’ve had some great sessions this week, with the best times being early mornings, late afternoons and into the night. Sizes have ranged from 4-20kg. Mixed in are lots of whiting, which have been taking fresh worms and pumped nippers.

We’re still seeing some good runs of fairly sizeable bream. It’s not quite as good as the bream fishing in winter, but there are still some good numbers around.

Dart are also biting in the surf, taking 10-25g slugs fished on fairly small, light threadline gear and 8-9ft rods.

Rock fishing been pretty slow this week, with only a couple of jewfish reported. I haven’t heard reports of drummer or groper, but no doubt there are determined anglers out there still catching a few.

There have been some good numbers of bream around, we’ve been having fun sessions down at Muttonbird and around The Quarry. Tailor have been pretty scarce the last few weeks, and their numbers will continue to drop.

The odd king is still getting around the rocks but they’re harder to find as the water gets warmer. As they start to move on, the tuna will start to fire up and take their place.

Anglers have been catching small bonito and small mac tuna, filling up freezers with bait for summer. They’re being caught on small slugs and small stickbaits.

In the rivers we’ve finally had a little bit of rain. It hasn’t been enough to give the system a proper flush, but it helped a bit. We had 20mm on Tuesday night, and I went out on Wednesday and picked up some nice fish, and found more bait moving around. Most of the mouths of the little feeder creeks were fishing well, with schools of trevally and bream. I also found a couple of little tailor and a lesser queenfish.

A lot of whiting are taking poppers and stickbaits by anglers fishing the shallow flats on a high tide. You should work your stickbaits or poppers a little slower than you would in summer, because the fish are still a little colder. Pumped nippers and bloodworms are also pulling up a fair few fish.

There’s a good run of small jew down most of the rivers, generally on the deeper sections such as pylons and deeper drop-offs. Basically, anywhere you can find a steep incline of 3-5m of water you should find a few fish.

We’re seeing some great captures of flathead on glidebaits and big swimbaits. Key to chasing these guys is to scout around looking for lies at low tide, and then return at high tide to fish. The big flatties are smart, so getting them to eat a lure is sometimes difficult, bit if you stick at it you’ll eventually have success. Bait fishers are using pillies, slow winding them in (like you would if you’re for kingies with a garfish bait), and they’ve been catching fish to 1m.

Trevally have been widespread in the system, from the salt to the brackish water.

Kane Fairchild

Report 4/10/19

So it has been a great week weather wise here on the north coast, a lot of good reports this week as we kick off the NSW school holidays. Days have been hot, still no rain and fires burning west of us smoke covers the city centre. It has been really dry, with some upper section of the rivers coming to barely a trickle. We are in need of rain but that doesn’t mean the fishing has come to a halt.

Outside
This week a lot of people heading wide found some great bar cod in 100m+. No reports of blue eye but I’m sure there were a few around. A lot of talk around the place about pearlies this week, some really good quality fish. Most people were finding good numbers in 40m+ with the odd tusky and snapper, which makes for a good day on the water. Kingfish still around most of the islands with the odd tailor as well. Small slugs and stickbaits were on the cards for most anglers, but the ones who took the time to jigbait found the larger models. A live slimy or yakka is hard to resist, and that’s when the larger fish will make mistakes more often. Small mac tuna and bonito have been schooling bait to the surface, and small slugs and stickbaits worked fast when the bait is boiling have been working well.

Rocks
Tailor have been really patchy. Bream are still around in good numbers keeping most people entertained. The odd king has been showing up from time to time to test people’s gear out. Drummer and groper are still around, just not in the same numbers they were in winter. As the water warms up they look for cooler water, heading to some of the deeper reefs.

Rivers
Bream have been widespread through the system and have been responding to surface lures as the water warms up. A great way to catch bream is fishing the flats with surface poppers and small stickbaits. Whiting are starting to fire up, and worms and nippers have been the pick of the baits. Flathead around the system have been widespread also due to lack of rain. Small plastics and hardbodies have been working well.

Kane Fairchild

Report 27/9/19

Out wide there have been really nice bar cod and some blue-eye coming in over the last week, generally around that 100-120m mark. The currents are starting to get quicker so bring a few different weights. Most guys are using 2-3kg at the moment.

In closer around that 80m mark the kings are still pretty active, with a few AJs and samsons mixed in. I haven’t heard of huge fish this week but there have been some solid 8-10kg models still getting caught. Knife jigs and live baits are both catching fish.

In around the 50m mark there has been some really good pearl perch fishing. More and more people are now using slow jigs when targeting pearlies. Popular jigs are the Palms Slow Blatt, Nomads Gypsy Jigs and Buffalo Jigs, Samaki Ribcage, in weights from 60-100g depending on current. Because the water is so clear, anglers are favouring more natural colours such as fusilier, mahimahi and pink sardine.

Mixed in with the pearl perch are tuskies. Although not as eager to eat a jig as pearlies are, you still get the odd one.

As we start seeing the warmer water come in the snapper are becoming more finicky. Your best bet is deeper water around 40-60m. If you don’t have any luck with 7” plastics, try downsizing to 5”, or use live baits, pillies or squid.

Most of the island washes are fishing really well for kings, although most of them are rats. Still, if you’ve caught no bottom fish that day, the little kings are a good way to get the reels turning before you head home. There’s still the odd tailor in the wash too, along with the occasional snapper.

Fishing in the shallows, around 10-15m, has been hit and miss. It can fish really well on some days but other days you can’t raise a scale, probably due to the warmer water. Early mornings are working better than in the afternoon, so if you’re targeting shallower grounds you should fish that period up to 9am and then move on.

Tuna been pretty widespread, with mac tuna, bonito and even the odd longtail tuna getting around. Frigate mackerel are popping up occasionally as well. The tuna are being taken in anything from 10-70m of water. We’ll see bigger runs of bluefin as the summer species start to kick into gear.

Whiting are starting to congregate around most of the beaches in good numbers. Live beachworms and nippers are the best baits, but if you can’t get those you can still have success on frozen worms or peeled prawns.

The bream spawning season is winding down so the big fish are heading out to sea, but you can still catch a decent feed of bream from the beaches.

Flathead are becoming more common on the beaches, moving right up into the shallows at times, and you can get them in as little as 2ft of water. I’ve been getting good catches lately on 7g and 10g TT Switchblades in natural colours, with a mix of sand and dusky flathead. 2-3” plastics work well too, or even a shallow hardbody on a nice calm day.

With the whiting being so common, the jewfish aren’t far behind. While gutting jewfish over the years I can’t tell you how many whiting I’ve found in their stomachs. Turn of the tide at night is best, and generally 4 days before and after a full or new moon.

There’s still the odd tailor off the beach but they’re slowing up, disappearing from the shallows and heading deeper. Dart are becoming more common, taking little 10-15g metals, or you can use 70-90mm stickbaits on calm days.

Off the rocks there are still drummer and groper getting caught, but warmer conditions should see them head off to the reefs. You need to use a lot of berley at this time of year to entice them into the warmer water.

Tailor are still being taken off the rocks but they’re becoming less frequent. Bream still around the rocks too but the sizes are getting smaller as the bigger ones head out.

If you’re targeting jewfish off the rocks, don’t be afraid to cast into shallow water. If a jew can find a crack where it can sit and hide, watching for baitfish, it will. Soft plastics and hardbodies are the most popular lure options. Baitfishing with whole squid or bonito strips is also popular.

Kingfish are still getting around the stones, but they come and go with the tide following bait. You can’t count on them being there but if you’re lucky you’ll come across them from time to time. Stickbaits, poppers or even hardbodies can work at times, but some days the kings won’t take anything but a live bait such as a herring or yakka.

The fishing in the rivers has been patchy; the fish are very spread out in the system because there’s so much salt. Flathead are the most common target because they can be found on most of the sand flats at this time of year. Try to can get there on a low tide to see the lies, and come back on a high tide and fish for them. You’ll often come up trumps with a flathead.

There have been some great captures of whiting in the rivers this week. Little stickbaits and poppers have been working well, but the whiting have sometimes been finicky in the warming water, preferring a lightly weighted bait.

Bream have been quite consistent through winter, and we’ll start to see them come to the surface a bit more now. Catching them on poppers and little stickbaits is always good fun, and as the water warms we’ll see more action.

Blackfish are slowly coming off the chew, although there are still a few anglers chasing them for their last hurrah for the year.

Jew are still on the cards but when the water is so clear it’s harder to find them in good numbers. Fishing at night has been best.

Trevally been widespread though the river in good numbers. You can be catching bream and flathead one minute, and then school of trevally will come through.

The bass have been very hard to find. The freshwater has little oxygen and bait, so there’s not much incentive for the bass to push upstream. If you’re keen to catch bass, watch your sounder for bait and fish those spots hard.

Kane Fairchild

Report 21/9/19

Out wide there have been really nice bar cod and some blue-eye coming in over the last week, generally around that 100-120m mark. The currents are starting to get quicker so bring a few different weights. Most guys are using 2-3kg at the moment.

In closer around that 80m mark the kings are still pretty active, with a few AJs and samsons mixed in. I haven’t heard of huge fish this week but there have been some solid 8-10kg models still getting caught. Knife jigs and live baits are both catching fish.

In around the 50m mark there has been some really good pearl perch fishing. More and more people are now using slow jigs when targeting pearlies. Popular jigs are the Palms Slow Blatt, Nomads Gypsy Jigs and Buffalo Jigs, Samaki Ribcage, in weights from 60-100g depending on current. Because the water is so clear, anglers are favouring more natural colours such as fusilier, mahimahi and pink sardine.

Mixed in with the pearl perch are tuskies. Although not as eager to eat a jig as pearlies are, you still get the odd one.

As we start seeing the warmer water come in the snapper are becoming more finicky. Your best bet is deeper water around 40-60m. If you don’t have any luck with 7” plastics, try downsizing to 5”, or use live baits, pillies or squid.

Most of the island washes are fishing really well for kings, although most of them are rats. Still, if you’ve caught no bottom fish that day, the little kings are a good way to get the reels turning before you head home. There’s still the odd tailor in the wash too, along with the occasional snapper.

Fishing in the shallows, around 10-15m, has been hit and miss. It can fish really well on some days but other days you can’t raise a scale, probably due to the warmer water. Early mornings are working better than in the afternoon, so if you’re targeting shallower grounds you should fish that period up to 9am and then move on.

Tuna been pretty widespread, with mac tuna, bonito and even the odd longtail tuna getting around. Frigate mackerel are popping up occasionally as well. The tuna are being taken in anything from 10-70m of water. We’ll see bigger runs of bluefin as the summer species start to kick into gear.

Whiting are starting to congregate around most of the beaches in good numbers. Live beachworms and nippers are the best baits, but if you can’t get those you can still have success on frozen worms or peeled prawns.

The bream spawning season is winding down so the big fish are heading out to sea, but you can still catch a decent feed of bream from the beaches.

Flathead are becoming more common on the beaches, moving right up into the shallows at times, and you can get them in as little as 2ft of water. I’ve been getting good catches lately on 7g and 10g TT Switchblades in natural colours, with a mix of sand and dusky flathead. 2-3” plastics work well too, or even a shallow hardbody on a nice calm day.

With the whiting being so common, the jewfish aren’t far behind. While gutting jewfish over the years I can’t tell you how many whiting I’ve found in their stomachs. Turn of the tide at night is best, and generally 4 days before and after a full or new moon.

There’s still the odd tailor off the beach but they’re slowing up, disappearing from the shallows and heading deeper. Dart are becoming more common, taking little 10-15g metals, or you can use 70-90mm stickbaits on calm days.

Off the rocks there are still drummer and groper getting caught, but warmer conditions should see them head off to the reefs. You need to use a lot of berley at this time of year to entice them into the warmer water.

Tailor are still being taken off the rocks but they’re becoming less frequent. Bream still around the rocks too but the sizes are getting smaller as the bigger ones head out.

If you’re targeting jewfish off the rocks, don’t be afraid to cast into shallow water. If a jew can find a crack where it can sit and hide, watching for baitfish, it will. Soft plastics and hardbodies are the most popular lure options. Baitfishing with whole squid or bonito strips is also popular.

Kingfish are still getting around the stones, but they come and go with the tide following bait. You can’t count on them being there but if you’re lucky you’ll come across them from time to time. Stickbaits, poppers or even hardbodies can work at times, but some days the kings won’t take anything but a live bait such as a herring or yakka.

The fishing in the rivers has been patchy; the fish are very spread out in the system because there’s so much salt. Flathead are the most common target because they can be found on most of the sand flats at this time of year. Try to can get there on a low tide to see the lies, and come back on a high tide and fish for them. You’ll often come up trumps with a flathead.

There have been some great captures of whiting in the rivers this week. Little stickbaits and poppers have been working well, but the whiting have sometimes been finicky in the warming water, preferring a lightly weighted bait.

Bream have been quite consistent through winter, and we’ll start to see them come to the surface a bit more now. Catching them on poppers and little stickbaits is always good fun, and as the water warms we’ll see more action.

Blackfish are slowly coming off the chew, although there are still a few anglers chasing them for their last hurrah for the year.

Jew are still on the cards but when the water is so clear it’s harder to find them in good numbers. Fishing at night has been best.

Trevally been widespread though the river in good numbers. You can be catching bream and flathead one minute, and then school of trevally will come through.

The bass have been very hard to find. The freshwater has little oxygen and bait, so there’s not much incentive for the bass to push upstream. If you’re keen to catch bass, watch your sounder for bait and fish those spots hard.

Kane Fairchild

Report 13/9/19

Out wide between 80-90m has been pretty consistent for bar cod and blueye trevalla. There’s a fair bit of current, and most guys are dropping down with 1kg weights. There’s the odd snapper, tuskfish and pearly out there as well, but not many.

Around the lighthouse and most of the islands there’s good kingy fishing. AJs and samsons have been in the deeper sections around 60-70m with kingfish around the Patch and out towards the canyons. Bonito and mac tuna are being caught in 20-60m of water. There’s only the odd longtail showing up, but next month there should be more of them.

The 40m depth is yielding consistent catches of snapper, with the odd pearly and tusky mixed in. In closer it’s been tough going for guys in kayaks and tinnies, with only the odd snapper caught. If you want to catch snapper, you don’t want to go any shallower than 20-30m.

Off the beaches the whiting are starting to really pick up, and small nippers and worms are the go-to baits. There have been some good bream and the odd flathead getting caught around potholes. If you want to catch a jewie, fish the turn of the tide to give yourself the best chance of success. Tailor are still around but they’re hit and miss. Some days there are plenty, and on other days you’re lucky to get a couple. Their numbers will continue to dwindle.

The rocks have been fishing really well for drummer and groper, but we’ll slowly start to see them come off the chew as the water gets warmer. Heavy berleying will draw them from the deeper reefs into into the shallows. I recommend bringing 5-8 loaves of bread.

The kingfish are quite consistent, they’re only 50-70cm but they’re in good numbers. Jewfish also been on the cards on the turn of the tides first thing in the morning and late in the afternoon.

The rivers been really consistent with flathead in the shallows. We will start to see them going into the deeper sections in the coming weeks, and they’ll be very widespread, from the mouth to the brackish reaches. Fingers crossed the rain comes soon because the rivers are struggling a bit.

Guys prefishing for ABT comps are reporting good catches of bream up in the shallows and under the racks.

Whiting are also on the cards now. With the warmer days and water temps rising with the northerlies coming through we’ll start to see more whiting on the chew. Little stickbaits and poppers work well at times, but when the whiting are finicky the odd worm or pumped yabby goes a treat.

Jewfish have been hit and miss, probably due to the gin clear water, which doesn’t give the fish any cover to hunt from. Even the bottom of the tide is pretty much crystal clear.

As warmer days start to kick in we’ll start to see small cod and mangrove jack starting to fire up.

Up in the brackish water there are bass are being caught; with the water so low they can’t go further upstream. Most brackish reaches are also fishing well for a range of trevally species.

Report 6/9/19

Out wide has been fishing well around the 90m for those chasing bar cod and blue eye. Mixed in with them has been snapper and pearlies.
Coming in closer to about the 40m mark is where most people are fishing because it’s nice and warm. Water temps didn’t drop below 19 degrees this year, which is weird, so most have been catching their snapper in the deeper water.
Tuskies and pearies make for some great by-catch when searching for snapper too.
Kingfish and amberjacks are going great guns behind the lighthouse, with areas like the shoals and canyons both both producing kingies around 90-100cm.
The islands and washes are giving up tailor and kingfish, with some of the kings smashing up lighter gear.
In a bit closer, it is very warm, with many people people struggling to catch a feed. First thing in morning is definitely the best way to go.
In this area, it’s possible to have some fun with bonnies and mac tuna, in around that close 20-30m mark. This is a good option if the snapper aren’t playing.

The beaches are fishing well, but with a big swell coming this may make it hard.Soaking baits should get you some tailor,and while the bream are slowly going off the bite, the whiting are really coming on.

The rivers are going well for flathead, and the shallow areas seem to be the key, with anglers using big swimbaits and plastics claiming some big fish.
With bass season back on, many people will be chasing our bronzed battlers, however many bass are in poor condition, because they can’t get upstream because of a lack of rain.
Bream have been plentiful, and the next few weeks should see them slow down, but there’s still some good numbers in the deeper sections.
Whiting are a big drawcard, with topwater lures, nipper and other fresh baits the best choices.
Jewfish in rivers are still a possibility, and at this time they get into brackish reaches, with most fish in the 50-80cm range.
Blackfish are starting to come off the chew, but those who persist with cabbage flies are still nailing the odd bag.

Kane Fairchild

Report 16/8/19

The warmer weather is here and we have been blessed with some amazing days this last week, with hardly no wind and beautiful clear skies. The Coffs coast is heating up and so is the fishing.

Outside
Out wide in 100m+ some nice blue eye have been getting extracted from the deeper reefs. With a bit of current around most have opted for 2kg+ weights.

In the 50-80m mark we have had a bunch of hoodlums patrolling these areas. Live baits and large knife jigs have been doing the damage, just remember that this type of fishing can be brutal! 80lb+ mainlines with PE8 rods are what most use when chasing these bullies of the ocean. Kings have the ability to travel through all depths of water at top speed, and there is not much in the ocean that pulls as hard as a kingfish.

The snapper have been in deeper water as we have not had the temps drop below 20°C. A lot of people chasing snaps in the shallows have been struggling but there have been a few reports this week of a few lurking around our coastline. Tuskfish and pearl perch have also been in the 50m+ zone, with some nice bags coming through most of the week. Small strip baits and slow jigs have been doing well.

Beaches
Tailor have been in good numbers this year, with some great sized fish amongst them. Small metal lures have been working well, and for people soaking a bait the gang hooked pillies been picking up a few fish. With the full moon phase Jewfish have been on the cards, with some good reports this week. It will be a great option to soak some baits along your local gutters. Big bream are in force, but as the jew move in we’ll find a lot of species that were once the hunter will become the hunted.

Rivers
Rivers have been tough. The water is very clear due to the lack of rain, and it’s been hard to find fish in good numbers. This is where a good sounder comes into play; finding large bait schools can be the key to turning a donut into a good day out.

The shallow flats have been key to chasing flathead of late, but as the water temps rise we should see a lot start heading for deeper water. Bream have been in good numbers and so have the trevally. Lightly weighted plastics or small strip baits are working well, just remember that light presentation is the key. With the water temps rising we should see some good numbers of whiting should start to show up. Small stickbaits and poppers can make for a really nice day out catching these little speedsters. If you prefer chasing them on bait, you can’t go past fresh beach worms or nippers. Getting fresh bait can make a big difference when getting a nice feed for the table. Only keep what you need as it can be easy to get carried away when the bite is hot. Fresh is always best.

Kane Fairchild

Report 9/8/19

Still no rain so conditions have been tough in most rivers. That’s not to say there’s no fish around, they have just been spread through the system.

Outside has been fishing well, with most making the effort to travel to the deeper reefs as it has been hard for most in the shallows.

Outside
The wide grounds have been fishing well this week, with some great kingfish, amberjack and sambos. Livebaits, slow jigs and large plastics have been taking their fair share of fish this week. Snapper and pearl perch have been in good numbers in the 40-60m mark. In close has been a struggle for many, with patchy reports most of the week with the odd angler getting a few fish.

The islands have been fishing well, with good numbers of kings and tailor making up most people’s bags. With the odd snapper thrown into the mix, it’s been a good time to be outside on the Coffs coast.

Beaches
There have been some XL bream patrolling the beaches of late, with really good numbers and some great sized fish.

Jewfish have also been fishing pretty well for the experienced angler. Chasing tides and selecting good fresh bait can mean all the difference when looking for jewfish.

Some great sandy and dusky flathead have also been on the cards, with light weighted baits and small plastics working well.

Tailor have been in great numbers, with most taken on ganged pillies and small slugs. Some great sized fish up to 4kg have been caught this week. As the weather gets warmer we should see dart and whiting start to fire up so the next few weeks will be promising.

Rocks
There have been some great tailor running this year. We had a early run of good greenbacks and even the odd salmon. Great sized bream have been also running the ledges when fishing for pelagics, and if it’s a tough bite the bream are always there to turn a reel.

Jewfish have been few and far between. There have been some great reports north of us but Coffs has been slow this week, with only a few people lucky enough to knuckle a couple. Live baits are still the most popular method, with the odd fish taken on plastics or hardbodies.

Kingfish have been patchy but a few anglers have been getting stuck into them this week. The best fish I heard of was 7kg.

Rivers
As I mentioned earlier, fish have been widespread through the system. Finding bait schools on the sounder and targeting fish with a variety of lures has been working well for me. Small blades, plastics and deep diving hardbodies have been effective, and changing up methods can be all the difference between coming home with fish or finishing empty-handed. Once you have found the bait, try different methods until you find one that works. Sometimes it takes me three lure changes before I find the right method to get fish keen on my offering.

Bream have been in great numbers this year, with some real brutes getting taken from the mouth of most rivers.

Jewfish have been hugging the deeper edges and drop-offs in the system, and once you find them on the sounder it just takes time to work out when they’re feeding and what to offer them.

Great numbers of trevs have been keeping anglers entertained, and small stickbaits and light weighted plastics have been working well.

Flathead have been a big thing here on the coast of late. A lot of people subscribe to the ‘big bait equals big fish’ theory, and I have been surprised at some of the quality fish taken in the shallows.

Kane Fairchild

Report 2/8/19

Most guys heading wide have been chasing bar cod and blue eye in around 100-140m of water. Generally around a 3kg weight because the current has been pretty fierce.

In closer around 80m we’re seeing some nice kingfish getting jigged up. As long as the current is there the kingies are generally there too. A few amberjack and samsons are mixed in. There are also some really good pearlies around the 50-80m mark, with the average being 2-3kg with the odd 4-4.5kg fish. Most are getting caubght on slow fall jigs such as Palms Slow Blatts, or flesh baits. There’s also the odd tusky and the odd snapper.

Most of the washes around the islands are fishing really well, with good reports of great tailor, kingfish and snapper. Small stickbaits, little hardbodies and small soft plastics are the most popular methods, but a very lightly weighted bait would also work.

At this time of year the washes also hold good drummer and groper. You can get them on cunje and small crabs. More blokes are taking on the challenge of using imitation crabs.

Tuna species slowed down a bit, still the odd one pop up, still plenty of bonito and mac tuna and this time of year but haven’t heard of a longtail for a couple for weeks now.

In a bit closer, at this time of year the 30m mark is where most blokes chase snapper. The go this year is really lightly weighted 5″ plastics. If you’re struggling with larger 7″ plastics, try downsizing to a 5″ plastic and a 3/0 hook. At first light you should go for darker colours, and then switch to natural colours like pilchard or pink glow, which work well in the clear water. Good options include Gulp Jerkshads, Bewaa Deus, scented ZMan PaddlerZ, Grass KickerZ, and scented JerkshadZ. You can also do well on the 110 Squidgy Pro Prawn with wriggler tail, rigged on a light jighead. Cast out into the current as far away from the boat as you can, and let it sink. You’ll most often get hit on the drop. If not, you can give slow and steady hops back to the boat. Or you can just rip it in, cast back out and try to get a fish on the drop.

In these shallower waters there’s the odd kingfish so be aware. You have to put a lot of hurt on them, because they’ll put a lot of hurt on you. There’s also the odd pearly caught from 25-30m of water, but that’s rare.

Most beaches are fishing pretty well for bread and butter species. There are plenty of good quality bream and flathead in the potholes. If you come along a gutter and can see a pothole a couple of feet in front of you, don’t be afraid to drop something in. You can catch flathead slow hopping vibes and lightly weighted soft plastics worked slowly off the bottom. A lightly weighted bait would work just as well.

The whiting are a bit more scarce, but as spring kicks in the whiting and dart should start to fire up.

There are lots of great tailor getting caught on ganged pilchards at dawn, dusk or nighttime. There haven’t been great sizes of jew this week, but coming into that new moon phase you’ll find that those bigger tides should bring in some big fish.

With the big seas there’s been the odd snapper getting caught. If you are fishing off a beach that has a very close reef, from time to time a snapper will venture out into shallow water.

The rocks are fantastic at this time of year. Kingfish and jewfish are the most popular species to chase. Get your live baits early in the morning, put them in a bucket with an aerator, and send them out under a float. The lure throwers using soft plastics and small stickbaits. Anglers targeting jew are throwing slab baits like bonito or tailor, or hardbodies and soft plastics.

There are plenty of bream off all rock ledges. They’re usually not too hard to find, but if you’re struggling just berley up and you should be able to pick up a few.

Tailor have also been common across most rock ledges, caught on ganged pillies and little metal slugs. Slugs are a great option because you can cover a lot of ground quickly.

Drummer and groper still on the cards, taking small cunje baits and little bits of crabs and large amounts of berley. Use very lightly weighted sinkers and very strong 1/0-3/0 hooks.

The rivers have been fishing really well for bream. They’re great sizes and range all through the water column, and most should be fully roed up ready to breed. Please be aware of the number of fish you’re keeping at this time of year, as we want a good breeding season to ensure future stocks.

Flathead are being caught on big lures in super shallow water, as they sun themselves. Maximum casting distance is good so you don’t spook them. You can use big swimbaits, big soft plastics or fairly large surface lures. Work them super slow and keep it in their face as much as possible. If you do get a short strike and they haven’t touched the lure or hook, make lots of casts back in there as they should have a crack.

Small jew have been getting around most of the estuaries, taking small vibes and plastics. Live herring and poddy mullet are good baits. Most jew are hard up against structure or in deep sections of the river. Find a drop off or some hard cover and some bait, and work it until they come through.

Trevally have been in plague proportions in most rivers. A lot are quite small but if you’re struggling to catch flatties and jew, drop to lighter gear and chase the trevors. They can make up for a bad day.

If you want to catch whiting, look for the shallows where the fish can sun themselves. Whiting are quite shy at this time of year, so you’re better off finding a group of them rather than a couple. When there’s a group the whiting will compete with each other to take your bait.

Kane Fairchild

Report 26/7/19

Out wide the current has been pretty good so a lot of guys have been getting their deep drop gear out. They have been getting blue eye and bar cod in 100-150m of water. Most of the guys are using 2-3kg weights to get to the bottom.

In a bit closer the lighthouse has been amazing, with some really good reports of nice samsons, kings and the odd amberjack. They are ranging from around 6kg up to the odd one around 10-15kg. Light weighted soft plastics up in the wash flicked back at speed have been working well. 120-220mm stickbaits are another great option, worked with a sweeping-pause action. On the pause is usually when you see the boil.

In 30-40m has been fishing well for pearl perch just outside the lighthouse, we’re seeing great bags with fish up to 4kg. Tuskies also been mixed in. Most pearlies and tuskies have been caught on slow jigs, pilchards or squid.

Snapper have been widespread, anywhere from 10-50m, so it’s had to pinpoint where they are. Keep an eye on your sounder, and where you find the bait you’ll find the arches.

In deeper water most guys are using 3/8 to 1/2oz jigheads with 5″ and 7″ plastics, both paddle tail and flick. In the shallower stuff, 10-30m, the snapper are getting chased on 1/4 and 3/8oz jigheads. 5″ plastics working better than 7″ in the shallows. ZMan StreakZ and humble Gulp. Biwaa Deus also doing well.

Most of the islands have been fishing really well for tailor in the washes.

The beaches have been fishing really well for bream. Most people using yabbies, worms or prawns have been getting good fish, including 1kg and 1.5kg specimens. Mixed in are tailor, which have been patrolling most of the beaches. Low light periods are always best for tailor, and if you’re throwing around metals, change up your retrieve rate to see what works on the day. If you’re using bait, the humble gang hook and pillies been working really well.

There have been some really nice jew getting around, especially with the moon phase we’ve got at the moment. There have been some really nice captures over the past week, with some jew around 8-9kg. One gentleman here got a couple at 12kg, which is nice to see.

There has been the odd flathead in the shallows in most of the potholes around the beach. Slow worked soft plastics and small vibes have been picking up most of the flatties.

On the rocks, there’s great fishing for drummer, and groper as well. Berley is key (I take out 5-8 loaves of bread). Fresh baits are always great, such as cunje or prawns. You can even get them on a pumped nipper but you’ll get a lot of pickers too. I collect handfuls of sand so the bread sinks, and add prawn heads or the hard bits of cunje to the berley mix. Weed is good too, if you can get it.

The groper will eat the same baits, but it’s better if you can get down the night before and get some crabs. Some anglers have been trying Chasebaits Fish Candy soft plastic crabs, soaked in the berley bucket before being cast out. It’s a tricky approach, as you have a very small window in which to strike. Groper like to chew on bait for a while, and until you feel he’s really got it down you don’t set the hook. If he doesn’t like the taste/feel of the imitation crab, he’ll spit it out; ditto if he feels tension on the line. It’s easier to use real crabs.

There are some nice tailor getting around off most of the rocky headlands. Metal slugs and small stickbaits been picking up a few fish. Jewfish are another big drawcard; the moon phase is really good for them at the moment. Big hardbody lures, bit soft plastics and livebaits have been working over the past week.

The odd king still getting around off the headlands, they’re only 2-4kg rats but still fun. Light soft plastics, small hardbodies and stickbaits have been working fairly consistently.

Bream have been getting pretty thick off the stone ledges. Sticking in close is key, keeping your baits close against the rocks. The bream are hiding from the tailor and kingfish, and are sticking close to the rocks. Just cast it at your feet and let the bait drift around with a light sinker. Youwant it to look as natural as possible. If you’ve got a heavy sinker and you’re casting way out into no man’s land, you won’t do well. Instead, use as light a sinker as you can, let it drift around until the bait gets too close to the rocks, then wind it in and cast out. Keep tension on the line, and watch out for those little telltale ticks on the line.

Snapper are another drawcard off the rocks as we’ve had some decent swell, there have been five or six decent fish taken off the stones over the past week. One was 3.5kg.

The river hasn’t had much rain so the water is gin clear. The fish are widespread but there are still some good captures if you can find them on the sounder. That’s key to success. Most of the guys chasing bream have been finding them up in the shallows on the top of the tide, hungrily trying to access the oysters etc. Bream are also being caught from the deeper holes on the bottom of the tide. Mixed in are some really nice flathead; I had a nice session on Monday night when I got 10 in 1.5 hours on soft plastics and vibes. I used the 10g TTs Switchblade in the Greenback colour, a 65mm Squidgy Pro Prawn Wriggler Tail (which got too many smaller fish), and a 3″ MinnowZ from ZMan in opening night. Generally at this time of year, if you catch one flattie you’ll catch more.

The GTs in the system have been widespread from the mouth right up to the brackish areas. They’re quite consistent 0.5-1.5kg trevs with the odd 2.5kg cracker if you can get through the pickers.

There are still jewfish getting caught in most of the deep edges around most of the rivers here. Not great sizes, just below legal around 60-70cm mark. There’s still the odd one around the metre mark if you’re lucky.

Kane Fairchild

Report 19/7/19

The rain has eased bringing some beautiful winter weather to spend some quality time on the water. We didn’t get the flush we would’ve hoped for but still something is better then nothing. School holidays are in full swing and its been busy on the water of a late due to the influx of tourists visiting the beautiful coffs coast.

Outside
Snapper have been own most peoples minds venturing outside, and you don’t have to travel far to find these hard fighting fish. In depths from 10-30m water you should find snapper on most of the close reefs hugging our coast. 7 inch and 5inch plastics have been getting some great fish of a late for the lure heads, and the humble squid and pillie combo been working well for the people wanting to soak a bait.
This time of year the local kingfish are around chasing most things on offer, quickening the retrieve for these fellas seems to be the go. When schooled these fellas can put up quite a tussle trying to head for the bottom at any chance they get. Tight drag and heavy lines are needed when chasing these speedsters. Slow jigs and small flesh baits have been working well on tuskies.

Rivers
With the little rain we had we hardle got any colour in the system but there still have been some great captures the last week. Bream have been fishing well, with some large 1.5kg models coming from the deeper pockets around the system. Hard working vibes and crankas have been doing well. The Jewfish have been showing up, testing the gear. They’re not the biggest of fish but some good numbers are around early morning and late afternoon into the dark. Chasing the tide hs been working well for most. Live baits are another option, with some larger models coming from this approach. Travelly have been out in force smashing most lures worked at speed, with some 3kg models around. They can be a lot fun on light gear.

Rocks
Rock fishing at this time of year can be magic, There are so many options, from soaking a bait to throwing some slugs, and theres always something around, including kings, jewfish, tailor, drummer, groper and snapper just to name a few. There are also plenty of bream lining the rocks at this time of year. It can be a good day out wetting a line off the rocks — just pick your tides and get out there. There are plenty of species to choose from and the ledges seem to be less crowded due to the freezing temps late arvo early morning; most people are choosing to stay home.

Report 12/7/19

The wind and swell have been up this week so it’s been hard to get out. Most of the guys have been sticking close but there are still a few kingfish, amberjack and samsonfish out towards the lighthouse. Before the swell got ridiculous there were a lot of reports of 8-10kg kingfish with the odd 15kg model.

Most of the islands have been fishing really well. A lot of guys are fishing just outside the wash zone, in around the 30m of water. There have been some great snapper, with some pearlies and tuskies mixed in. A lot of those fish are coming in off the shelf out wide and it’s hard to pinpoint where they’ll be. 15-30m of water is where most people are concentrating on, and the action has been fairly consistent. The water is around 20°C in close. Finding the bait is key to finding the fish, so keep a sharp eye on your sounder.

Around the headlands there’s good fishing for drummer and groper, and anglers have also been getting some good kingfish and tailor. Mixed in are bream, dart and whiting.

The beaches been pretty blown out, but those guys who have been finding a headland tucked away from the swell have been finding a few jewfish. There are also tailor around, and I’ve even heard of the odd salmon getting caught over the last week, which is rare here.

With those big swells the snapper are a drawcard in close. When the cunje and weed start breaking up off the rocks, the snapper come in close to take advantage of the bait.

Most of the headlands, beaches and river mouths are pretty consistent for bream at the moment.

The rivers have been fishing well. We’re having some really good runs of bream, ranging from shallow flats down into the deep, and you shouldn’t be afraid to fish the deeper pockets. Flathead been sunning themselves on shallow banks, so head up to the shallow reaches and look for those telltale flathead lies.

Jewfish are also in the river, and we can expect a good run of small 60-90cm jew quite consistently. Fishing larger drop-offs and sheltered areas where you can find a bit of area which has a back eddy or where the flow isn’t quite so consistent, that’s where the jew will be hanging out.

The upper reaches are fishing really well for trevally. There are great numbers this year, not all massive fish but always fun.

Report 5/7/19

So the rains are here and fingers crossed it sticks around enough to give the systems a good flush out. It’s been hard of a late to find the fish as they have been well spread out through the system.

Outside
Not a lot to report this week as the rain set in and so did the swell, but just before the swell jacked up there were some good pearl perch, tuskies and snapper coming from out wide. Soft flesh baits and jigs have been picking up a few good fish.

The local resident hoodlums were out and about testing our knot tying skills, with some fish on the larger side. 15kg+ models at this time of year are not as uncommon as you might think. Live baits been doing really well, and a few got taken on jigs early on in the week.

Inshore
The snapper have moved into most of our closer reefs. The majority of fish have been taken in 15-30m. Soft plastics, jigs and dead baits have been working well. The odd pearl perch in close has been landed for a couple of lucky anglers at the start of the week. Tuskfish are always on the cards at this time of year, and dropping baits for these fish is how most people tend to fish for them. Pillies and squid have been working well on these beautiful species. As good as they are for the table, please only take what you need.

Rivers
If this rain sticks around and we get a good flush, next week will be a good week to hit the water. As the fresh pushes to the mouth so does the bait, and the predatory fish will be lying in wait for a easy feed. Bream, jewfish, flathead and the odd whiting will be on the cards. There have been some good reports from the start of the week with some great numbers of bream around. Jewfish will be taking advantage of the rain, and now that we have some colour change in the rivers we should have a cracker week chasing these silver ghosts. Slow worked hardbody lures will work well, with lives being another nice option when chasing them in the dirty water.

Beaches
There’s not a lot to report as the swell has been too big for anglers to hit most beaches this week. As it backs off we should have the tailor on most beaches, with the jew not too far behind them. Bream and dart will be active, and small soft baits fished on a light sinker should come up with the goods.

Headlands
Once again, there’s not a lot to do when the swell is up, but finding a corner away from the swell can always be a option. Just be aware of the swell and your surroundings because things can go bad really quick out there, so stick to your comfort zones. Jewfish, kingfish, tailor, groper, bream and drummer will all be cruising around most headlands.

Kane Fairchild

Report 28/6/19

OUTSIDE
All the tuna –- macs, yellow, albacore, blues and bonito — have shown up keen for a feed. They’re in depths around 60-30m, and there are some good numbers and great reports this week. The pros have been landing some cracking albacore to 17kg and yellows to 80kg, bonito in the 1-3kg range. There’s also the odd blue still kicking around with a few reports of fish up to 24kg. The mac tuna are ranging from 3-8kg. Live baits have been the focus on landing big fish, and trolling lures is a second option for most. With the bait so thick you should take advantage of them. Find working birds or large bait balls and the tuna shouldn’t be too far off.

Anglers are jigging up kingfish, amberjack and samsonfish in 50-80m of water. Some fish have been in access of 15kg, and most have been landed using vertical jigs and slow jigs. If you find the fish and can’t get them interested in a jig, try dropping a livie to the bottom and you should come up trumps.

There are snapper in close around 10-30m, and we have had a few in 80+ with BIG pearl perch and some nice tuskies. There’s the odd pearlie in shallows, with 4.5kg the best I heard of this week) with a lot big fellas coming from 100m+. Some large snapper have been caught with Shaun Cameron from MOTackle landing a 97cm snapper on film for some upcoming footage for the website.

ISLANDS WASH
There are kings, the odd snapper and some big tailor all lurking in the wash at the moment. Small plastics, stickbaits and small profile hardbodies have been doing the damage on the kings and tailor. Lightly weighted baits and soft plastics for snapper been working a treat. Always be safe around the wash, as you never know when that rogue wave will come. Always have your motor going and someone close to the wheel just in case. Be safe out there.

ROCKS
There are lots of good tailor and the odd king to stretch your arms, with plenty of groper and drummer starting to take baits. Blackfish and bream are in good numbers if you’re chasing bread and butters.

Jew have been in good numbers, with some great fish coming off live baits fished at the change of the tide. Lures have also been accounting for a few nice fish up to 20kg, with a lot of fish between 80-95cm.

RIVERS
The rivers have been fishing well for bream, and this is the big draw card for most. Lightly weighted crab and prawn profiles have been working really well.

Blackfish are in great numbers and are really starting to fire up. Most are caught on cabbage and green weed, with the odd one caught on nippers. Trevally are always a fun option for winter fishing in the rivers, and these dirty fighting fish are always looking for cover. Tight drags with small hardbodies and stickbaits worked with some decent speed will have these fellas climbing all over your offering. These fish aren’t always big but they’re always fun.

It’s closed season for trout and bass so there’s not much to report in the fresh. If you do catch a bass at this time of year please put them back as soon as possible to give them a fighting chance to breed.

Kane Fairchild

Report 21/6/19

Out wide has been producing some good kings in around 50-60m of water, along with some samsonfish and amberjack. A lot are coming on vertical jigs such as Nomad Streakers and Samaki Ribcages. The water is clear so natural pilchard and slimy mackerel colours are best.

Coming in towards most of the islands you can do well on kingfish, and there are also tailor and snapper in most of the washes around the islands.

Around that 30-40m mark we’ve been hearing of some great patches of tuna. Most are mac tuna and bonito, with the odd longtail showing up.

Snapper have started to move from the 30-40m mark into around 15-20m of water, and a lot of anglers are concentrating on them now that the mackerel have gone. Around the 30m mark there are pearl perch and tuskies mixed in, along with the odd goatfish.

A bit closer towards the headlands and beaches, there’s great fishing for tailor, which are there in good numbers and sizes. Throwing metals is a great way to cover water and catch tailor, and it’s a good way to get kids involved too. If you’re using a strip bait, try to make it look as natural as possible, lining it up carefully along the gang hooks. To avoid tailor stripping the bait off the hook, you can use Bait Buddy elasticized thread to secure it to the hook.

Jewies are another welcome catch on the beaches. The mullet run is still going, which means there are a few good jewfish following them.

Another popular target off the beaches at this time of year is bream. The sea-run bream are here for their spawning run, and a great way to spend an afternoon is to throw out a few baits and catch some decent size bream. Good baits include bonito, slimies and pilchards. A lot of guys are pot-holing for them. At this time of year the bream get themselves into crazy locations, such as a 2ft drop-off at your feet backing into a gutter or spit, so don’t be afraid to fish in the shallows.

There’s still the odd flathead getting around but they’ll be harder to find as the water gets colder. That’s when the big trevally come in; we’re getting a solid run of 2-2.5kg fish at the moment.

The headlands have been fishing really well if you can keep away from the swell. There are still good kings and jew around — just be careful out there.

There are also good reports of groper, silver drummer and black drummer. Silver drummer aren’t great on the plate, but black drummer are good table fish.

There are good numbers of bonito and striped tuna off the headlands, including some really solid bonito around up to the 3kg mark. You can catch bonnies on little 10-15g metals, but be sure to change the hooks so you can drag the fish up the rocks without worrying about breaking the trebles. Something like a Gamakatsu 1/0 or 2/0 single is good. Change up the retrieve to find what works on the day.

Most of the river mouths have been fishing well for jew. Fishing at night with livebait or strip baits of bonito is the most common approach. There’s also a really good run of bream, with specimens up to 2kg.

The upper estuaries are fishing well. There are lots of trevally, some good size bream and the odd flathead on the shallow banks trying to get that sun. There’s no point focusing on deep holes for flathead at this time of year, as the lizards are seeking out warmth. If you’re in an area at low tide, check for lies and come back later.

On the Coffs Coast we’re lucky enough to have the last run of river trout, and this time of year is usually really good for chasing them. You can catch them on small minnows, little soft plastics or the humble scrub worm. When it comes to flies, most of the Clousers are working well, something with a little bit of weight fished on a sinking line.

Kane Fairchild

Report 15/6/19

Starting out wide, anglers have been seeing seeing tuna, both small yellowfin and longtail, and mixed in with them is the odd stripey and bonito.
Coming in closer to the 40-50m mark, working vertical jig has turned up kings, and with them has been some amberjacks.
In closer again to around the 30-20m mark, good snapper are showing up in better numbers as the water cools down. Anglers fishing this area can also expect a few tuskies and pearl perch as well.
The push of cold water will start to see the mackerel disappear, however there will be a few around snipping anglers off.

Along the beaches, the fishing has been productive for jew, and mixed in along the gutters are bream, flathead and whiting.
With the mullet run in full swing, rocks and beaches everywhere will be turning up good jew, and so too will the mouths of rivers when the swell is up.
Headlands should be producing some kings, drummer and groper, for those after a challenge.

The mouth of the river is fishing well for jew and big bream, of which the latter is still currently spawning.
Flathead are sill hanging out in the upper reaches. There are some in the lower reaches, but most are up high in the system trying to get warm.
The odd jew can be found up the top of the system with the water salinity going crazy without any rain around.
The odd GT can also be found up high, and giant herring are also available for those after a bit of sport.

Kane Fairchild

Report 7/6/19

There haven’t been any decent reports from out wide because of the swell. Hopefully things will improve over the long weekend.

A couple of the guys who managed to get out to the islands did pretty well on the kings. Due to the strong current and swell, most blokes have been vertical jigging rather than slow jigging. There are a few amberjacks and samsonfish mixed in.

In a bit closer around the 30-40m mark, there are still good catches of pearl perch and snapper, along with the odd tusky. As the temperatures start to drop we’ll notice a lot of the snapper move closer. Tuna have been in good numbers, with plenty of bonito, little mac tuna and the odd longtail.

Most of the headlands have been fishing pretty well for drummer and groper when conditions have allowed. Bream and dart are also featuring in catches, and there’s also a mass plague of small trevally annoying anglers spinning for tailor.

The tailor have been fierce over the last week and a half, probably stirred up by the swell. We’re seeing pretty consistent catches of good fish up to around 4kg, and now is a great time to chase them. With the way the swell has been, most have been caught on metals, but as the swell drops we’ll see more bait fishers taking advantage.

With the mullet run in full swing, jewfish are a popular target. Most jewies are between 90-120cm, averaging around 6-10kg. There are a few larger specimens getting about, with MO team member Sam Taylor getting a 21kg jew last week.

The beaches have been a no-go lately, but the rivers have been fishing well. With the big mullet in close there are big jew along the walls. I’ve heard of a couple a bit north of here in excess of 25kg. One caught last week further up the coast was 28.5kg!

We’re seeing bigger flathead up at the mouth chasing mullet, so big presentations are key. You can use big livebaits such as mullet or herring, or soft plastics over 5″.

In the river mouths there are some good size sea-run bream. Presentation is important if you want to fool a wily older fish. If you fish light (around 6-8lb leader) and send down a lightly weighted bait you should come up trumps. Fresh baits are best if you can get them, such as nippers, live worms or pipis. If you can’t get those baits, all is not lost, because the bream are congregated in big numbers and will rush to beat their friends to the bait. The humble pilly or squid should do fine in this competitive scenario.

Up in brackish reaches the trevally are in good numbers.

Kane Fairchild

Report 31/5/19

Starting out wide, bar cod have been taken in very deep water, and a few dollies are still kicking around.
In a bit closer, mackerel are still being caught, and plenty of snapper and pearlies are now showing up with the big southerly swell churning everything up.

On the rocks drummer and blackfish are in good numbers, with a few jew as well if you find good wash.
Along the beaches jew are worth targeting in deeper gutters, and lots of tailor, bream and whiting are keeping the bread and butter aglers happy.

In the rivers whiting and flathead have made up the majority of catches, with good numbers of tailor smashing bait around the river mouth.

Report 24/5/19

Out wide, dollies are still in good numbers around the FAD and wave recorder. Wahoo catches are dwindling.

You may have heard about the blokes yesterday who were injured by a black marlin, which jumped into their rubber dingy. One of the anglers got a broken arm and deep lacerations, and the other angler got speared through his shoulder. There aren’t many marlin around at the moment, so this was particularly unlucky.

Most of the islands are fishing really well for kingfish, with the biggest weighing in at 22kg. That’s the biggest kingy I’ve heard of in a very long time around here. There are a few snapper also being caught in the wash around the islands.

Around the 50m mark is where most guys been fishing for snapper lately, looking for that colder water down deep. We’ve also been getting a really good run of trag, with some tuskies and pearlies mixed in.

In closer around 20-40m is where the warmer water is at the moment, so that’s where guys are hunting for mackerel. Most of the water is around 22 degrees the moment, but if you find a patch of 23-24 degree water you have a good change of finding the mackerel.

Into around the 20m mark there’s the odd snapper, but mackerel are snipping off baits and plastics, frustrating a lot of anglers. There are still some longtails getting around, eating the running garfish, but catches are starting to slow up. A lot of mac tuna and bonito are getting caught.

The beaches have been fishing really well for bream, which are coming into their winter spawning season, and this should continue to pick up. There are still some good mulloway being caught along the beaches due to the mullet run, which has been a little late. There’s still the odd whiting which is unusual; it’s probably due to the warm water hanging around. There are also tailor and a few lizards.

Around the headlands we’re seeing really good numbers of kingies, and there are also tailor and jew, both school-size jew and the odd decent size specimen. Blackfish are being caught in good numbers, and there’s also the odd drummer and groper getting caught. And of course there are the bread and butter species like dart, bream and the odd whiting and flathead.

The river mouths are fishing really well for tailor. We’ve had a good run in the last 2-3 weeks, with some decent size fish amongst them. There are also some good kingies to be caught, particularly on the top of the tide. The odd school jew can be found chasing the mullet around, so it’s a case of find the bait, find the fish. There are also whiting and flathead, and good numbers of bream. If you’re looking for a feed of bream, now is a good time to target them around the river mouths and beaches. They’re sea run bream with nice white flesh.

In the brackish water there are good numbers of trevally. You can get good results on 60-90mm hardbodies, and I have found that a fast, erratic action is effective -– use sharp jerks of your rod tip and keep the pace up. Plastics do account for fish, but lately I’ve been doing best on Rapala X-Rap XR 6s and XR 8s in the ‘S’ colour (a mullet imitation) and ayu. There are also good bream there, and I’ve been getting them on hardbodies like Ecogear Long Cast 40s, and on prawn imitations such as the 65mm Squidgy Wriggler Prawn in cracked pepper. If you happen to catch a bass, please get it back in the water as quickly as possible so it can spawn.

Kane Fairchild

Report 17/5/19

We’ve been having some really nice clear water out wide but the marlin are still few and far between. It’s looking like they might not come through this year like they usually do.

There’s the odd wahoo mixed in, but the big drawcard has been dolphinfish. Plenty are being caught out near the FADs and wave recorder.

Most most of the island washes have been fishing well for snapper and kingfish. Generally at this time of year we find most of the snapper are in water a bit deeper.

Mackerel are still a popular target. If you can find water around 22-23 degrees, you have a good chance of catching Spanish and spotted mackerel. The depths have varied, with some blokes finding them in 40m and other blokes finding them in 10m; it all comes down to the temperature.

A lot of kingfish coming through now, a long with some samsons and amberjack, and 40-60m is where most are getting caught. The kingfish will start to get more and more thick as we move into the colder months. Vertically jigging starting to be come more popular, particularly knife jigs. One of the most popular is the Samaki Hummer V2 in pilly and bubblegum, but there are other knife jigs that will do the job just fine.

In closer in 40-50m of water we’re noticing great numbers of pearl perch and tuskfish. There’s also the odd snapper. As the water gets cooler more snapper will get closer in.

In 15-20m, there’s the odd snapper, and kingfish are roaming between the islands and the shore. There are also mackerel being caught in as little as 10m of water.

The beaches have been fishing really well for school jew, and big tailor are also getting around. There are also good numbers of dart, whiting, bream and flathead. The bream fishing in particular is really starting to pick up as they prepare to spawn.

Most of the headlands are fishing quite well for jew – a sign that the mullet run isn’t too far away. Groper and drummer are also becoming a more popular target for rock hoppers as we move into the colder months. Rock fishers are reporting tuna in plague proportions this year. Generally with longtails you don’t see them under 10-12kg but there have been loads this year in the 6-8kg range.

With mullet in the river mouths, most blokes chasing jew have a good shot in the following weeks. Coming into the new moon is the best option. The mullet run was a bit late this year, possibly due to the water conditions. There are also lots of bream being caught.

Jew anglers are getting large flathead as by-catch. Please handle these big breeders carefully and try to get them back in the water as quickly as possible.

In the upper reaches the brackish stones are fishing well for bream, and flathead. Occasionally you’ll catch an unusual species like a tarpon or giant herring.

Whatever you’re chasing, remember that we’re in the middle of a change of seasons, so the fishing can be hot and cold.

Kane Fairchild

Report 3/5/19

Out wide in around 60-50m of water, the fishing has been good for snapper, pearlies and tuskies, with these fish favouring the deeper, cooler water at the moment.
Some bigger pelagics have been taken in the form of wahoo, and plenty of big spotties.
Marlin haven’t really shown up properly this season, but there has been a few here and there.
Closer in, the 30-40m wash and island zones have given up good tailor and the odd kingie, with a few snapper thrown in as well.
Back to around 20-15m, kayakers have been doing well on macks, and the snapper fishing in this zone should start to improve as well.

Beach fishing is in full swing at the moment, with plenty of jew after the mullet run started recently.
Bread and butter obeach fishing has been worthwhile too, with bream, whiting, dart and flathead all contributing to solid bags.
Rock fishing has produced some good tuna, with tuna busting up within 10-15m of most ledges at different times.

In the estuaries, the sea run bream have been coming inside to provide some entertainment for those fishing in the lower reaches.
Some jew have trickled through in rivers, mostly smaller models, but there is the odd bigger specimen kicking around too.
In the mid and lower reaches, the bream and flathead have been the main targets, but the bass are also coming down as well.

Kane Fairchild

Report 18/4/19

Out wide at the moment there’s a nice run of wahoo, ranging from around 10kg-28kg. The marlin are hard to find, with only the odd one being reported.

The dollies have been pretty active this week, with some good runs at the lighthouse, wave recorder and the FAD.

The washes have been fishing fairly well for a mixed bag of tailor, snapper and kingfish around most of the islands.

In closer around the 40m mark is where most of the snapper have been getting caught. Finding colder water seems to be the key; if you can find water around 21-22 degrees you should find fish. There are some good pearlies being caught as well; this week alone there were some really cracking reports of guys bagging out before 9am on the pearlies. There’s also the odd tuskfish and goatfish.

Mackerel are everywhere, mainly spotties. Most of the Spanish caught have been trolled up on lures, as it’s hard to get the livies past the spotties. Productive lures are Rapala X-Raps, Halco Laser Pros and Samaki Pacemakers. Dead baits such as gar are also working well.

There are also tuna about – yellowfin, mac, bonito and longtails. If you’re not finding mackerel you will probably find a lot of tuna, and the only solution (if you want mackerel) is to move. Ditto if there are sharks. Sharks aren’t usually a problem here but there have been more of them around lately.

In closer around 10-15m the snapper have been fairly hard to catch, but the odd kayaker has been getting them here and there.

Around the rocks is fishing fairly well for tuna and kingies. One bloke got a 6kg kingy off the rocks this morning, which is a nice fish for off the stones. The biggest drawcard though is tailor. As water cools the tailor become thicker. You’ll maximize your chances if you avoid headlands that have deeper water, because the mackerel there can shut down the tailor. In shallow headlands with 5-6m of water, the mackerel tend to stay away.

Most of the rivers are fishing fairly well, with whiting still getting taken on flesh baits like prawns, and the odd popper. As the water conditions get colder we’ll find the surface luring won’t work as well.

There’s still the odd bream being caught over the flats, and if you’re lucky you might get a surface hit from a big flathead.

In the brackish reaches we’ve been getting good runs of jewfish. Around the Easter holidays is a good time to target them as they follow the mullet run.

There’s also the odd bass bycatch in the brackish reaches. If you happen to catch one, please handle it gently and get it back in the water as quickly as possible so it can spawn.

Kane Fairchild

Report 12/4/19

Out wide there’s the odd marlin starting to come through for those anglers putting in the time. It’s been a struggle this year for the marlin, so it’s good to hear reports of them coming in.

If the marlin aren’t playing the game, there are plenty of wahoo and dolphinfish to fall back on. Most have come from around the lighthouse, FAD and wave recorder.

A bit closer in the washes on most of the islands, the kingies are still there. They’re not great sizes but there are lots of them. There’s also the odd snapper showing up amongst them.

Coming away from the islands in 3-40m of water, anglers are picking up some good snapper, pearlies and trag at the moment.

Conditions have been great for the mackerel, with good numbers being caught. You’ll get about five spotties to one barrie.

In closer in around 10-15m of water, kayakers are still catching the odd snapper and kingy.

As days become cooler we’ll start to see snapper, jewfish, pearlies and tuskies coming on a bit thicker, so the next few weeks should see some good bottom bouncing.

On the beaches there are still bream, whiting and flathead being caught, but the big drawcard in the coming month is the jewfish. As the temps drop we’ll see a lot of these fish around; they seem to like water 21-22°C. After Easter is a prime time.

The jew are there for a reason, and that reason is the tailor. We’ll notice a lot of tailor pop up over the next month. Reports are already coming in of a few tailor here and there, and some good sizes.

Tailor catches traditionally increase as mackerel catches dwindle. While the mackerel are around, divers have noticed the tailor huddled under rocks and not moving as much. When the macks move on, the tailor come out. Another influencing factor is probably the cooler water temperatures, which the tailor seem to prefer.

Most of the headlands will be yielding good catches of drummer and groper in the coming month, as well as tailor.

Most of the rivers have been fishing well over the past week, thanks to the flush from the rain. There are a lot of baitfish around, and the bream, whiting and flathead are all going to be big drawcards coming into the next month. Whiting catches will dwindle, especially off the surface.

The flathead have been biting well. If you catch one, stay there and keep fishing hard, as the male flatties like to congregate around the females.
Jacks should be slowly starting to come off the chew, although they can still be caught.

Kane Fairchild

Report 5/4/19

Starting outwide, we’ve been seeing good wahoo, and mixed in has been the odd dollie. 60-80m seems to be the prime depth, and between FADs, the wave recorder and the lighthouse there seems to be good numbers available.
Coming in closer, most islands are fishing well for kings, and any wash zones in 15-20m with a sharp drops off are holding good kings.
Closer still, coming into the 30-40m mark, there’s still good mackerel fishing available, and it seems to be about 5 to 1 with spotties to Spaniards. Finding water between 24-25 degrees is the key.
In 30-20m, the snapper fishing has been fairly consistent, but with the warmer water they can be a bit patchy. Mixed in with them you’ll find some decent pearlies and tuskies.
Out offshore as well there are some quality jew, with some specimens coming in at over 20kg.

Along the beaches, most anglers are finding good fishing on the dart, bream and whiting.
For those after jew on the beaches, they are there, but results lately have been inconsistent. Next month will be the time to start doing this seriously.

On the rocks, kings have been very prevalent. There hasn’t been anything too big, with the biggest fish around 80-90cm, but plenty of good rats in great numbers. You’ll also find tailor mixed in with them.
As we go into the colder months, a lot of groper and drummer should start to show up. Reports are already coming in from those fishing for these species.
Bread and butter species are going strong off the stones, but the major draw card is still pelagics, with tuna and mackerel rewarding those who put in the time and effort.

In the river, there’s been some good flushes of rain, meaning a lot of the bait is congregating around the mouth, and with the is the jew, flathead, whiting, an the odd pelagic fish.
In the brackish areas, the water is a bit dirty to find consistent fishing.
If fishing the fresh, you’re probably best to get to the top stretches where the water is cleaner.

Report 22/3/19

Out wide there have been some good runs of wahoo coming through. There has also been the odd dolly between the wave recorder and the FAD. Marlin are still nowhere to be seen yet.

A bit closer the kingies are still showing up at most of the island washes. They’re mostly rats around 50-80cm. There’s the odd tailor mixed in, along with the occasional drummer and groper in the washes.

A bit closer back in that 40-50m mark we’re seeing good numbers of nice snapper. They seem to be pushing for that colder water down deep. Baits on the bottom are working well.

It’s mackerel fever at the moment! The mackerel are being caught anywhere from 10-60m of water. They’ve been very spread out but are in good numbers. Most boats are getting at least one or two. Size-wise, most of the spotties are 6-9kg and the Spanish are averaging 12-15kg. There are reports of some crazy sizes; the biggest confirmed here this week was 35.6kg, from Whitmore Shoals.

In a bit closer around 20-30m there’s been a few snapper for the kayakers but not many. At this time of year when there’s warmer water in close, the snapper tend to go wide.

The garfish are here in full swing, and the tuna seem to be everywhere. At around 8-15kg they’re not huge, but they’re plentiful. They’re being picked up anywhere from 15-60m of water, being caught by guys chasing mackerel.

The beaches have been fishing well for bread and butter species like bream, whiting and tarwhine. The odd flathead is getting caught too. The whiting have been a little more tough, although the experienced fishos are still catching a feed.

Tailor are very scarce, which generally happens at this time of year. This could be caused by a combination of warm water and mackerel.

Off the rocks there are good numbers of tuna getting caught, and good kingfish around most headlands around 60-90cm. If you’re lucky you might catch a mackerel on the top of the tide. Tailor, again, are very hard to find. The drawcards coming into the colder months are groper and drummer, and a few are starting to get caught.

The rivers have been fishing pretty much the same as last week. There’s still nice clarity at mouths of the rivers, and you can catch good flathead and whiting there as they eat the bait that’s pushed out from the fresh.

Jewfish are starting to slowly come on the chew. There are good numbers in mid reaches, and places like pylons, bridges, and deeper drop-offs are usually the key areas around the tide change.

In the fresh the bass are trying to put on as much weight as they can before they do their dash downstream, so now is a good time to get yourself a couple of decent bass before the season comes to an end.

Kane Fairchild

Report 8/3/19

Out behind the Patches the FAD and wave recorder have been yielding good dollies as long as the current is there. Anglers are getting good numbers and good size fish over 1m.

In between FAD and wave recorder been a few wahoo caught in the past few days, which is good considering they haven’t been here for most of the year.

Marlin are still a bit touch and go. I have heard of the odd one here and there, but generally at this time of year there should be more.

In closer around the islands, the washes have been fishing reasonably well, with the odd snapper and kingfish caught out of the wash. Just be safe out there at this time of year, especially with the swell we have. Getting in close to those washes can be dangerous.

We’re also still seeing good numbers of amberjack and samsonfish caught in 50-60m of water on knife jigs and livebaits.

In closer again in 30-40m of water there are good numbers of tuna, following the garfish that have just shown up. Generally when the gar show up the tuna aren’t far behind. Anglers have been catching longtails, stripes and even the odd jellybean yellowfin.

In that 20m mark there’s still the odd snapper being caught by kayak fishers, but the big drawcard is the mackerel. Yes, they have shown up! There are good numbers of spotties around, but not many baries. Most people are struggling a bit, but there’s the odd lucky boat that’s bagged out by 9am. And one customer recently caught a massive barie, the first one he’d ever caught. He was new to the area so we gave him a couple of GPS marks, and he went out slow trolling slimies and caught a 40.9kg fish. He was stoked.

The beaches have been fishing pretty well for bream, whiting, flathead and dart. The mulloway have been a bit touch and go; I’ve heard of a couple caught over the past week or so, but not many.

Moving onto the headlands, the water has been beautiful for most people fishing the ledges, so mackerel and tuna are definitely a drawcard this month. I recently got a 12kg longtail off the stones on a Cutting Edge Perpetrator.

The kingfish are slowly starting to move off the headlands, and the tailor are scarce, which is a sign that mackerel are about.

Most of the mouths of the rivers have been fishing well, yielding mackerel, tuna and kingfish. I’ve heard of a few good bags of bonito over the past week too, with people stocking up on bait. The mulloway have been pretty shut down.

In rivers, the flats pushing up on to the high tide have been producing really well for whiting. A lot are being taken on surface lures, but yabby and worm will work just as well.

There have been plenty of flathead around in good numbers and sizes, taken on soft plastics and hardbodies. Regular customer Elksy recently caught a 96cm fish on a soft plastic.

In the fresh we’ve been having good afternoon storms, and the prime time is 30-45 minutes before the storm. The bass go off!

Kane Fairchild

Report 1/3/19

The cyclone has meant that fewer anglers have been out fishing. Those people who have managed to get out wide past the shelf haven’t had much luck on marlin. There are pretty good numbers of striped tuna though and, when the current has slowed, anglers fishing down deep around 400m have been getting a few bar cod, tile fish, and so on.

In a bit closer, anglers who have gone to the FADs chasing dollies have said it’s pretty dead out there, even though the water is warm and clean.

There are still a few snapper and other reef fish in the deeper water, and some reasonable snapper in close as well.

Mackerel are starting to show up on the inshore reefs, with some good specimens to around 18kg being caught on trolled live baits. A couple have also been caught on stickbaits. A few cobia are also taking baits and lures meant for mackerel.

We’re seeing a few mac tuna starting to poke around, and there are also reports of small yellowfin up to around 8kg.

Off the rocks anglers have been getting into quite good numbers of tailor, with most taken on 20-60g metal lures. There haven’t been many reports of jewfish, but they should start firing up in the coming months as temperatures decrease.

A few blackfish are being caught on weed around the headlands.

In the river there are still some big flathead being caught on big 7-9″ soft plastics (e.g. Lunker City Slug-Gos in white and pink), and also on 150-200mm swimbaits (e.g. Westin Hypo Teez in whiting colour).

Anglers are continuing to get some good whiting on topwater lures. There’s also the chance of a jewfish while fishing the tide changes around structure at night, on either 3-6″ paddle tail plastics or 70-100mm soft vibes.

I haven’t heard of too many bream catches lately, but there’s still a heap of trevally around, mostly a bit higher in the estuary. They will take soft plastics thrown at snags as well as topwater in early mornings and late afternoons.

There are still a few bass getting around; a customer got 20 on topwater yesterday, which is good to hear.

Jason O’Brien

Report 22/2/19

Offshore the water conditions are starting to get a lot better than they were last week. The southerlies are starting to bring in some nice water for the marlin, and we were getting good reports of blacks and stripes before the wind set in. It looks like it won’t die down for a week or so.

The dollies have been firing really well at the FAD and wave recorders, with fish to 1.2m. Out in that same depth, around 80m, there are some kings still being caught on knife jigs, mixed in with a few amberjack and samsonfish.

The islands all have been fishing pretty well in the washes for snapper, tailor and kingfish. They’re not big but are still good fun.

Moving into that 40-50m depth range, some good snapper around 3-4kg are being caught. Mixed in are pearlies, tuskies and the odd king. There are also a few goatfish being caught, and I’m told they are great on the plate.

In closer in 10-15m of water, the snapper have been very few and far between, with only the odd kayaker getting one. The deeper water tends to fish better at this time of year.

The mackerel have finally turned up! We had been starting to see dribs and drabs, and now anglers are getting solid numbers of 4-5 fish a boat. I’ve even heard of blokes releasing fish. Most of the baries are around 10-15kg with the odd one up to 24kg (there’s also still the odd spotty). Still, it hasn’t been the greatest of years. If you’re expecting to come here and do as well as you have in the past, you’ll probably be disappointed.

The beaches have been fishing well for whiting, bream, dart and flathead. Most have been caught on flesh baits, and worms are picking up a few as well. There are plenty of worms on the beaches if you want get some yourself.

The mouth of the river is fishing pretty well with that little bit of rain pushing the bait down. Early mornings and late arvos are working fairly well if you have a good tide. There are plenty of whiting, flathead and bream around out the front. I haven’t heard of school jew catches but that could be because people are chasing other species. There should be a few school jew hanging around most pylons or timbered snags. Fishing hour before or after the change should pay dividends.

A few jacks are being taken but they’re spread out, and it’s hard to pinpoint where they are. Only the experienced anglers seem to be having any luck; everybody else is feeling pretty frustrated. Livebaiting is key for your best chances. Surface lures are catching their share in the mornings, and hardbodies and plastics have also been accounting for a few.

Back towards the bassy areas, we have a bit more water due to the rain, and a few more bass catches.

Kane Fairchild

Report 15/2/19

Out wide there have been some marlin getting caught, both blues and stripes. Nothing massive, but I heard of a 140lb stripe last week which is a good fish.

Dolphinfish are another big drawcard, with lots of people going to the FAD and wave recorder chasing them.

Mackerel aren’t in big numbers at the moment, but the water is getting better as the days go on, so a lot of people are getting the mackerel gear out. If you can find that warmer 26-degree water, you should find the mackerel. At the moment that warmer water is around the 30-40m mark. Both Spanish and spotted mackerel are being caught, and we can expect their numbers to grow.

Most of the kingfish caught lately have still been around the islands in the washy zones. Guys have been pulling fish close to a metre, so there are definitely still some good kingies there.

Around that 20-25m mark there have been some good snapper and pearlies caught, with few tuskies as well. Bear in mind that when a warm 25-26° current sticks around for a while, the snapper may not taste as good as usual. Warm water affects kingfish even more; their flesh can turn mushy and be pretty much inedible. To see whether warm water has affected a kingfish, press your thumb on its body just above the pectoral fin. If your thumb sinks any more than half an inch, throw the fish back.

On the beaches everyone is chasing a feed of sand whiting. We’ve had a really good run of them this year. There are lots of bream, dart and tarwhine all mixed up in there with them. There are reports of a few school jew as well, with most fish caught around an hour before and an hour after the turn of the tide.

In the rivers we’ve been doing pretty well on the flathead. We’re catching them in all sorts of areas – right up in the shallows in a couple of foot of water, right down to 10-15m drops. There are some big specimens amongst them.

The bream guys also doing pretty well. There are a lot of surface lures getting thrown around, and they’re always a fun way to spend time on the water. Two of the most productive are the Bassday Sugapen, and Zipbaits Skinny Pop.

Whiting are being caught on the flats, and fishing the incoming tide is the way to go, targeting the holes where the yabbies are.

The freshwater fishing has been a bit dismal, with water levels dropping a bit due to the lack of rain. Still, there are a few bass around for those anglers who put in the effort. The best times are early in the morning, late in the afternoon and into the night.

Kane Fairchild

Report 1/2/19

Out wide, we’ve been getting northerlies for around 6 weeks, and today is the first first southerly since then, so fingers crossed this trend continues.
In 60-80 fathoms, marlin have been taken in small sizes. Stripes and blacks in the 80kg range have made up the majority of the catch.
In closer around the FAD and Wave Recorder, good dollies have been taken by those willing to make their way out.
At the lump, good kings have been caught by those jigging for about 3 weeks now.
Closer again, into 40-50m, really good numbers of pearliers have been reported, and seem to be loving this colder water. With them have been some solid snapper.Goatfish and tuskies are also potential by-catch when fishing in this area.
Closer still, in the 10-15m zone, the odd snapper is still being taken due to the colder water, but this will get harder as the water warms up more.
Mackerel have unfortunately been few and far between, however the spearos have been doing okay, although most reports are coming from deeper areas behind the islands.

Along the beaches, plenty of good bream, whiting and the odd jew are being taken. Jew particularly have been loving the unsettled conditions and dirty water. Mixed in with them are flatties and dart.)
On the headlands, most headland areas are fishing well, with jew in the gutters, and typical bread and butter species showing up as well. This colder water has also been bringing the kingfish into casting rage from the rocks.

In the rivers, the mouth is firing for flathead, as this is their breeding time. In the same areas you can expect to find jew poking around.
Apart from that, this time of year is mostly about whiting, and surface lures, small hardbodies and soft plastics have been accounting for their fair share.
In the brackish zone, numbers of jacks have been reported. Jacks are always here, however now with more people fishing the area for them, we get more reports.
Another big big drawcard has been the giant herring in the brackish zones, with this area being one of the best in the north coast to tangle with one of these mysterious speedsters.

The freshwater scene has been dismal. The water is hot, there’s no flow, and everything is dangerously low. the dam on the system has been having an effect on the waterway, and if we don’t get a good bit of rain soon, fish will end up dying.

Report 25/1/19

Out wide we’re getting reports of blacks averaging around 60-80kg. There are plenty of them from South West Rocks all the way up the coast; they’re even getting them in Port.

Dolphinfish have shown up in good numbers and sizes; just the other day a mate of mine got a 1.2m fish. They’re being caught from most of the FADs, wave recorders and out at the Lump.

The wahoo haven’t come on yet, but we can expect that to change over the next month or so. There are a few reports of people hooking them while chasing marlin and getting bitten off.

In closer around the 50-60m mark is where the mackerel have been. We’re not getting many in close because of the cooler water; the mackerel are preferring the 24-degree water out wide. The spearos are doing well but line anglers are not. Most reports are coming from Grassy Head, South West Rocks and Scotts Head. It may seem strange that mackerel can be caught both north and south of Coffs but not actually here. There’s a reason for that – it’s our islands, which push the hot current out. We need those big southerlies that come with February, so the hot current can come in behind the islands.

Back in 40m of water there have been good reds, also pearl perch which is good for this time of year. The colder water in close is good for pearlies, tuskies and snapper.

In that same 40-50m mark we’re seeing some good kings. Anglers are getting them from the wash around the islands and jigging for them in that deeper water. It doesn’t matter whether you’re fishing stickbaits, plastics or metals, as everything is catching kingies. It’s been a really good season for these fish, even in close. I’ve been getting them off most of the walls for years, and this year has been particularly good, with both big numbers and big sizes.

Back towards the beach areas we’ve been getting plenty of good whiting and some nice bream. There are some school-size jew mixed in. I haven’t heard of any monsters lately.

Back into the rivers, we’ve been doing well on the flathead. Most have been congregating in one area up near the mouths of the river, 1-2km back from the mouth. I’ve heard of some big ones getting caught.

Mixed in are whiting and bream, they’ve been in good numbers as well. The whiting on the flats are ranging between 30-45cm. They’re not real crackers but still decent fish.

There are plenty of school jew in the river, with anglers getting good numbers around the pylons. Most of the rivers fishing are pretty well for them.

Some jacks are around as well, with most taken on live bait.

In the brackish areas there’s the odd giant herring around. The flyfishos are out there hassling those guys, hoping to be lucky enough to get one. These fish aren’t common but you do occasionally encounter them in the rivers. if you find one there will usually be a couple more. And if you don’t catch one, there are plenty of trevally around to save the day. Bigeyes, GTs and tealeaf trevally are all getting caught.

In the fresh there are good numbers of bass. Every year the bass fishing gets better and better, thanks to more people practicing catch and release.

Kane Fairchild

Report 18/1/19

The water temps are rising at the moment so there have been a few mackerel caught on all the local shoals and reefs.

Inshore there are a few snapper kicking around, and a few pearl perch, but with the warmer temps we can expect them to start moving deeper.

Off the rocks there’s not a great deal to report, although there are still a few tailor being caught. The better fishing is in the creeks and river system, where the whiting are starting to ramp up. There have been a few good ones caught recently off the surface. The flathead are starting to thicken up as well.

Report 11/1/19

In close at the moment we’re seeing some cold water around 19-20 degrees, but when you head out past 40m the temp rises to 22-23 degrees. That means mackerel! There have been some good mackerel caught out in that deeper stuff, but in close the smaller boats are struggling.

Some good dolphinfish have been coming from the FAD. We’re also seeing a fairly decent run of small blacks to around 80kg.

In that 30-40m mark anglers are catching trag, pearl perch, snapper and tuskfish. One customer bagged out yesterday on trag and snapper in three hours. It can be a bit hit-and-miss though.

In 10-15m of water you can still catch the odd snapper, but most fish are coming from that 30-40m depth range.

In the washes there have been some solid kings getting caught, to around 15kg plus. We’ve been hearing some good stories in recent weeks of them getting caught on stickbaits and livies.

Around the headlands over the last week there have been some good kingfish betting around. They’re not big ones off the stones, with most ranging from 50-90cm, but there are plenty of them. The LBG blokes doing pretty well.

Good bream and whiting are also getting caught off most of the ledges/beaches. The odd jew getting around as well, but they’re not a common catch.

In the rivers we’ve been enjoying hot sessions on flathead. They like to seek out deeper holes as the water warms. Recently we’ve been plagued by northeasters which bring in that dirty green water and drop the temperatures, so hopefully things will improve.

There are some quality whiting in the rivers, and we’re starting to see a lot of them taken off the top on stickbaits and poppers. You can also catch the odd bream off the surface.

There are plenty of cicadas so the bass are fired up.

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